I am a native English speaker. Can I teach without a TEFL certificate?
Native speakers should be able to speak and write English well. However, they might still lack many skills necessary for a language teacher. If you feel that you are not qualified enough to be a good English teacher, you should consider acquiring a TEFL certificate. The best thing about possessing a TEFL certificate is that it opens many doors. Teachers equipped with a TEFL certificate find many more job opportunities than those who do not have a formal qualification in English teaching.
That said, some ESL schools also recruit teachers without a TEFL certificate. Of course, if you are untrained you are more likely to receive a lower salary than a trained teacher. So if you are serious about building a successful career in teaching English, getting a TEFL certificate is highly recommended.
English is not my mother tongue. Can I teach ESL/EFL?
You don’t necessarily have to be a native English speaker to teach English. If you can speak and write English fluently, you should have no difficulty finding an ESL teaching job. Fluency in English is a must for successfully completing a TEFL course. Hence if you have a good TEFL certificate, it is a clear indication that you have a high level of fluency in English.
Can I make a real career out of TEFL?
It depends. If you are serious about the career, you will have no difficulty finding long-term or permanent positions. If you have the resources, you can even start your own ESL schools. And now with the growing popularity of internet, trained and qualified English teachers can find employment online. Plenty of opportunities are available. You could try anything from online tutoring to content writing.
Remember that if you are serious about building a real career in teaching English, you need a good certificate such as Cambridge ELT or Trinity. A TEFL diploma or degree is required for more senior positions.